WELL WELL! So AA is going to roll out its new roomy coach seating a la TWA's failed Comfort Class with pitches from 34 to 36 inches.
Does anyone remember that ever financially-minded Bob Crandall specifically stated at one time that increasing seat pitch would NEVER bring the airline an increased net as increased revenue would not match the increased cost per seat mile due to the lost opportunity to fill those extra 6.4 percent of seats when the planes ARE flying full during busy times of the year and day. There were extensive studies done to arrive at this conclusion.
The only way, if the studies are NOT correct, for AA to gain a strategic AAvantage would be for no other airline to match AA's increase in seat pitch, giving it a strategic marketing advantage. However, if enough majors did would that be a bad thing? So let's theorize.
I think AA is betting that the rest of this highly competitive industry to follow in its footsteps. Some of the work is done as UA is already cutting its capacity by 3 percent with its Economy Plus product. Now, if US, DL, CO, (and other service minded majors) follow, we could see overall industry capacity being cut by 2 percent or so. Or so means the net affect after capacity additions planned within the industry and carriers such as NW or HP staying the course with their abysmal 31 inch pitch in coach.) Such a cut in overall capacity, allowing it to catch up with demand might prove more profitable for all carriers. But perhaps more for some and less for others.
If US and TW, who have amongst the highest costs follow the AA trend, they will effectively raise their seat mile costs....again...hopefully adding some incremental revenue per seat mile. However, AA gains another AAvantage, by further weakening these carriers because they are more exposed to low cost carriers. In other words, they must compete with AA and others with a full service product, but with SW on costs. *A NO WIN* This could be enough to put TW over the edge. (less capacity again)
Additionally, such an improvement in product reduces the strategic advantage in product carriers like Legend and Midwest Express have over full coach on AA. Also, it reduces the advantage of having more seats in first class for full fare upgrades...a la TWA.
In conclusion, looking at the big picture consequences of such a that the revolution will bring, I believe AA will win no matter what....certainly the spirit of CrAAndall is AAlive AAnd well, no mAAtter whAAt he sAAid in the pAAst.
Love to hear everyone's thoughts! Thank you.